To Defend And Protect

They're Nothing New

There has been no shortage of wars over the years and through those wars, weapons have been developed and perfected to be the most effective and lethal.  The point of the military having weapons is to defend and protect the inhabitants of the country of origin, and the obvious outcome was (in the olden days), the best army won the war.  Today, of course, things happen differently in terms of "winning a war", but weapons manufacturers still strive for the best of the best to outfit their armies. 

And, They're Still In Use

Telescopic lenses have been used on military rifles as early as the American Civil War and even earlier in Europe.  In modern times, the use of telescopic lenses on military firearms was generally restricted to snipers, primarily due to the costs of production and the fragility of the optical components.  Until the 1990's, such was the case, since these lenses break easily and can become easily obscured with such environmental situations as mud, condensation and dirt and, on top of it, the scope tube lends bulk to the rifle.  Snipers, otherwise known as precision marksmen, tactical marksmen, sharpshooters and precision shooters, generally used high magnification scopes with special reticles which allow for estimating the range to the target.

Only Better...

The designated marksmen of the former Warsaw Pact members use military telescopic sights with a range finding reticle based on the average height of a person.  It is common today for most militaries to use telescopic sights on their infantry weapons, usually with low-magnification like red dot sights.  Telescopic sights are being built into infantry rifles as standard issue now, especially since warfare tactics have changed so significantly in recent years.

The Market Outside of the Military

There is a very competitive market for military long-range shooting telescopic sights and consequently, manufacturers are always researching, developing, adapting and making improvements to their telescopic sights to meet the demands of military organizations.  High end sighting components can cost as much as $2000 or more.  There are some options that are consistent and typical for military telescopic sights which include reticle illumination used for difficult lighting conditions and the presentation of settings or ballistics measurements data through the ocular of the sights.  The military's needs are also the impetus behind new and better development of the versatile mil-dot reticles and will likely continue to influence the design and manufacture of long-range telescopic lenses in the future.